Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Waffen SS Muslim Divisions

SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler and SS Brigadefuhrer Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig during an inspection of Waffen SS Division Handschar -Handzar- aka. Scimitar, Sarajevo, 1943.
Perhaps the most notorious of the German Muslim divisions was the 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar (1st Croatian). It was a Waffen-SS mountain infantry division. It was committed to the anti-partisan campaign in German occupied Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Croatia) during March-December 1944. This was a time in which the German military force was collapsing and the Red Army was entering the Balkans and the Allies landing in Normandy. The Division helped cover the German withdraw from Greece and the Balkans (September-December 1944). Croatia was a Fascist state and German-ally which declared its independence from Yugoslavia and included much of what is now Bosnia (after the Italian surrender) as well as part of Serbia. Handschar was a traditional combat knife or sword carried by Ottoman policemen who occupied the Balkans for several centuries. While the Whermact had begun using Muslims soon after the Barbarossa invasion (June 1941), the Handschar Division was the first non-Germanic Waffen-SS
division. Its formation marked the expansion of the Waffen-SS into a multi-ethnic military force, a sign of how desperate the race obsessed Germans had become. The SS recruited Bosnian Muslims (ethnic Bosniaks) and some Catholic Croats. German and Yugoslav Volksdeutsche (ethnic German) served as officers and non-commissioned officers. The men took an oath of allegiance to both Adolf Hitler and the Croatian leader Ante Pavelić.